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Nigeria and the dangers of drug abuse

Drug abuse is the illicit use of drugs or the excessive use of prescription drugs in such a way that goes over the normal dosage that has been advised.

Drug abuse can further be described as the deliberate use of chemical substances for reasons other than the intended purposes and which results in physical, mental, emotional or social impairment of the user. The abuse of legal drugs can happen when people use the drugs in a manner other than directed by the manufacturer or illegitimate purposes.

Drug abuse has become a national problem for Nigeria, one it hasn’t been able to fight effectively. Among the youths many are taking part for reasons like peer pressure, ignorance, curiosity, scarcity, desperation, performance heightening, etc.

Global studies on drug use and abuse revealed that early initiation of drug use is one of the best predictors of future drug abuse and dependence, for instance youths whose drug use started before the age of 14 are more vulnerable to drug problems later in life than those who started using drugs at the ages of 21 and above.

What are the consequences?

Premature death

Drug abuse is a leading cause of death. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug-related deaths have more than doubled since 2000. There are more deaths, illness, and disabilities from substance use than from any other preventable health condition. Today, one in four deaths is attributable to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit or prescription drug use.

Aberrant behavior

Abnormal behavior like slow and non-cohesive speech, hostility, irritation are effects of drug abuse. Going over the prescribed dosage leads to  more adverse effects for the user.

Damages to internal organs

The liver and brain are mostly susceptible to the effects of drug abuse. It also causes kidney and heart diseases and sometimes even nervous breakdown which results in shaking of the hands, head and body.

Drug dependency and addiction

Drug abuse causes you to keep going back for more as you’d think it has your salvation. You want the pain to go away quickly, so why not pop some pills? The truth is, the chemical components that drugs are made up of have been regulated for the sole reason of not having you abuse them. This is why there are experts who will guide you on recovery processes and make sure the right dosage is going in to the right places at the right time(s). Drug abuse also leads to psychological effects like depression, hallucination, sleeplessness, psychosis and paranoia.

One of the reasons why NAFDAC was established in Nigeria was to curb drugs manufactured with the wrong levels of chemical substances. The organization ensures that drugs that are meant to cure illnesses do not end up worsening things for the patient. In the Northern part of Nigeria, illegal combinations like coffee or codeine and lacasera has become a norm. Other drug and law enforcement agencies that have been set up for the purposes of eradicating drug abuse in Nigeria asides from NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control) are NDLEA – National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, CPC- Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria, etc.

Ever had an encounter with someone who abused drugs? How did they fare? Do you know what happened to them? Share with us in the comments!

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